REVIEW: Ed Byrne – Roaring Forties (NZ Comedy Festival 2015)

Ed Byrne's truly roars.

Shredded it Bro! [by Sharu Delilkan and Tim Booth]

Ed Byrne's truly roars.
Ed Byrne’s truly roars.

There’s no doubt that Ed Byrne has definitely roared into his forties. His entrance onto stage began with a hiss and a roar and what followed is testament that he has totally embraced entering his fourth decade on this planet.

Unlike other comedians who take a few minutes to warm up when they get on stage he just gets right down to business without hesitation. His ability to belt out joke after joke without missing a beat for more than 70-minutes solid is nothing short of remarkable.

To be honest I was feeling a little weary at the end, and not from being at a late show on a school night but more from having laughed almost non-stop throughout the duration – at times almost to the point of choking because I was inhaling too much air resulting from my continuous cackle. In short this repeat attender of the NZ Comedy Festival clearly kept us entertained throughout.

It’s no surprise that this is his sixth comedy festival in New Zealand, having premiered as far back as 17 years ago. Byrne’s intimate knowledge of Auckland (not just New Zealand) makes us feel like he knows and cares about us enough to warrant commentary. Being a Westie (well probably more a Westie-wannabe since I live in Avondale) I really appreciated his insight into the possible encounter with bogans as he headed out to the Waitakeres.

His ability to cover a plethora of themes and topics is equally phenomenal. From hillwalking/tramping to erections, hernias to childrearing, Byrne had the audience laughing out of the the palm of his hand, and literally in the case of hernias, in stitches.

One of the segments about second children definitely ‘touches a nerve’ for me, being a second child myself. His innately astute observation about how the second born that doesn’t get his/her dues is not only insightful but strikes a chord with all of the second children in the audience – again hitting the nail on the head with absolute precision.

I applaud Byrne for not jumping on the bandwagon of trying to be ‘edgy’ or ‘anarchic’, ‘divisive’ or downright offensive. Instead, he gently demonstrated that the absurdity of everyday life is so much more intriguing, amusing and thought-provoking than anything else.

And last but not least Byrne’s pre-occupation with playing the air guitar is not only fabulous but proves to be a great device to bookend the show.

Byrne at 43 is able to laugh at himself, his life, his relationships as well as his loves and hates – and we are privileged to be able to look through the window of his life, and see the old man (he thinks) looking out. He talks about what he knows, which is what we know also, but maybe we haven’t noticed as much as he has which makes him remarkable. In summary it’s Byrne‘s ability to convert the ordinary into the extraordinary that is genius, ultimately resulting in extreme laugh-out-loud hilarity that connects with everyone.

Ed Byrne – Roaring Forties is presented by New Zealand Comedy Trust, part of the NZ International Comedy 2015, and plays at Q Rangatira until 10 May. Details see Q.

SEE ALSO: Theatreview.org.nz review by Stewart Lund

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